One of the biggest advantages to playing roulette online is the use of bonuses. Unlike land-based casinos, online casinos do not have room and food comps to offer. This is a good thing for serious players, however, as it forces internet casinos to focus on returning money and free play to you. There are also a greater number of internet casinos competing with each other for your business.
The Player's Guide to Roulette Bonuses
This guide will discuss the different types of bonuses available to roulette players: welcome bonuses, deposit matching, loyalty, referral, and “gamification” bonuses, among others. We will also discuss how roulette players can best apply these bonuses and some terms and conditions of which you should be aware.
Just about all casinos offer some form of bonus to new players when they first open an account.
The most common type is a “matching bonus,” whereby the casino gives you an amount of free play equal to or greater than your initial deposit amount. There are almost always upper limits on the percentage of the deposit that can be matched, as well as playthrough requirements. The playthrough requirement usually stipulates that the bonus amount be wagered a certain number of times before any winnings from it can be withdrawn as cash.
A somewhat less common (but potentially even more lucrative) form is the “cash back” bonus. With this bonus, the casino covers a certain amount of losses during the welcome period by giving you an equivalent amount of free play. For example, a common offer is to cover the first $100 to $200 of losses on your first day. If you were to lose $100 during that time, the casino would give you $100 of free play in return.
Finally, there is the “no deposit” bonus. Created in response to standard matching bonuses, this type of bonus is indeed given to you just for creating an account. You will usually have to begin by successfully verifying your identity, but you will not have to make any sort of deposit before this bonus becomes available. These bonuses are usually subject to wagering requirements on any winnings you get from them. Like a matching bonus, you will have to put any winnings back into play a certain amount of times before they can be withdrawn as cash.
Deposit Matching and Percentage Bonuses
In addition to the welcome bonus, many casinos offer smaller bonuses for ongoing deposits. Most often they will match a lower percentage (e.g., 25%) of each deposit amount with free play. If you use an e-wallet service or similar payment method that saves money for the casino on transaction fees, the size of this bonus may increase. Although these bonuses are considerably smaller than the welcome bonus, they also usually have much smaller wagering requirements (in some cases have none at all).
When you create a new account at an online casino, you are usually automatically enrolled in their “player's club” or “VIP” program. Most casinos offer a fixed amount of loyalty points for each type of wager you make. These points can eventually be cashed in for free play or other types of bonuses.
The points are not the only thing you receive from loyalty programs. Almost all casinos give sporadic promotional bonuses to players. These will be larger and more frequent the more you play at that particular casino.
Some casinos award you with a bonus if you refer a friend. Most of them require that the new player wagers a certain amount with the casino before they give you the bonus. The casino usually provides a referral link with a unique code that you can email or instant message to other potential players.
Quest / Objective Bonuses
Some casinos are taking a page from social gaming and online services like Xbox Live. For example, they may give players points for completing daily activities, with bonus points granted for completing daily or weekly objectives. (An example is making a certain type of wager in roulette a certain number of times.) This type of bonus is most rewarding for players who were already planning on playing at the level of the mission objectives.
Are There Any Catches to Using Roulette Bonuses?
As we touched on earlier, many matching bonuses do have wagering requirements. Generally speaking, the larger the bonus, the bigger the requirement will be. A common industry standard for large welcome bonuses is a playthrough requirement of at least 20x.
It is also important to check the terms and conditions to ensure that all of the wagers made at roulette are eligible for both the playthrough requirements and for wins using bonus funds. (Look for terms and conditions on the casino's “bonus policy” page, which you can search for online.) There have been at least a few examples of casinos excluding roulette from these requirements (due to the relatively low house edge), or at least excluding certain bet types.
Beat the House Edge with Roulette Bonuses
While there is no strategy to consistently beat the house at roulette, the right bonus offers can at least make money for you temporarily. Shop around carefully before spending your roulette dollars!